When you have power, knowledge, possessions, prestige and position, the world deems you to be great. Much is written on how to obtain these for yourself, and how to become a powerful leader among your peers. Most people would prefer to be a general rather than a private, right? But is that what Scripture tells us to seek? Jesus said, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (1 John 2:15)
We are not on this earth to obtain things for ourselves, but to do the Lord’s will. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10) This morning I read a passage in Luke that reminded me that the Lord indeed has specific plans for each of us.
Prior to the birth of Jesus, another baby (John) was born with a specific purpose: to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79)
John the Baptist’s adult life was characterized by blind devotion and utter surrender to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. John was “a voice of one calling in the wilderness” (Isa 40:3) as he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah to a people who desperately needed a Savior. John was a messenger sent by God to proclaim the truth. His message was simple and direct: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Once Jesus appeared on the scene, John’s work would be all but finished. He willingly gave up the spotlight to Jesus saying, “He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30). And his example is one that we should all follow.
We all have our parts to do in the work of the Lord. “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (1 Peter 4:10) What is so beautiful about the Lord’s design is that all of the gifts of His people work together for His purposes. “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” (Romans 12:4-5)
John is a great example for us to follow. He knew his purpose and performed it with humility. He did not seek fame or power, but instead pointed others to Christ and salvation. “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Lord, thank you for the gifts you have given to me for your purposes. Lord, please gently remind me when necessary that these gifts are to be used to let YOUR light shine to the world, and not to focus on me.